UNESCO’s Michel Batisse Award For 2023:
The Director of the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park recently bagged UNESCO’s Michel Batisse Award for 2023.
- Designated as a Biosphere Reserve, the Gulf of Mannar is one of the biologically richest coastal regions in all of mainland of India.
- It is the first Marine Biosphere Reserve in the South and South East Asia.
- It is located 160 km between Dhanushkodi and Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu.
- This Marine Biosphere Reserve encompasses a chain of 21 islands (2 islands already submerged) and adjoining coral reefs off the coasts.
- Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, established in 1980, boasts three surreal aquatic ecosystems – mangroves, seagrass, and coral reef.
- The intertidal areas are dominated by mangroves belonging to the Rhizophora, Avicennia, Bruguiera genus.
- Seagrass is another prolific species, about 12 species exist here.
- About 150 species of seaweeds to are found in the waters. There is one endemic plant, a flowering herb called Pemphis acidula on the parklands.
- Dugong, an endangered marine mammal, is the main attraction of the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park.
- It has recorded some 117 species of hard Coral. It is home to different vulnerable whales like humpback whales, blue whales, fin whales, etc.